Nats Veering Toward All-Star Mockery
Getting all my bad stuff out of the way before Write Only Good Things About the Nats Week commences....
Meet Kyle. Kyle is a Nats fan. On the night pictured here, he voted 501 times to send Nats to the All-Star game.
I like Kyle for many reasons: because he's smiling, and because he's not the sort of fearful disaster-sensing Nats fan who believes it's time to hide in his basement and drown his sorrows in Crispix, and because he has pride in his team the same way I have pride in my neighborhood (even on the days I find an empty six-pack of Heineken, several cigarette butts, a sticky Strawberry-Kiwi fruit drink and three empty bags of various flavored potato chips on my lawn), and because he was kind enough to e-mail me. But sometimes pride can lead you to strange places, places that are better imagined than visited in person.
I think I wrote one or two words last winter about the Vote the Redskins Ticket campaign, which threatened to undermine the sanctity of the Pro Bowl As We Know It by making the NFC roster 85 percent burgundy and gold.
For the record, things worked out ok, with only a normal number of players from a slightly above-average 8-8 team earning trips to Hawaii. Also for the record, other sports are veering even closer to lunacy, with eight of the top 11 MLS vote-getters hailing from Seattle.
But this is a blog about D.C. sports, and so we turn to the Nationals, on pace for one of the worst records in MLB history, the butt of countless national jokes, and a team that, based on wins and losses, should probably donate its one mandated All-Star Game roster spot to the International League. Nah.
"We know that we haven't been winning on the field, but we've got some guys that are performing, and so we want to promote those guys," Nationals spokeswoman Chartese Burnett told the Wash Times. "We're optimistic and are being very vigilant. It's important to us and a source of pride. We certainly, absolutely believe that Ryan deserves to go, as does Dunn and some of the other guys."
Last week, the team held a contest encouraging fans to turn in hundreds of paper ballots. The fan who handed in the most won a chance to watch the team's batting practice from the field. On June 2, the team gave out "Vote for Nats" T-shirts with a list of eligible players on the back.
Carolyn Lantry, a writer from Arlington...estimates she has filled out more than 2,000 paper ballots with help from her mother. There is no limit to how many paper ballots fans can turn in. Lantry arrived at Nationals Park with 600 paper ballots last week, trading her ballots for some game-used balls and a lineup card.
Attempted mockery or not, Ryan Zimmerman is second among NL third basemen, and Adam Dunn is 12th among outfielders. (Full results here.) And yes, being an individual-driven statistically-measured game, you can certainly argue that multiple players from wretched teams might be all-star worthy, that a third basemen (even one with the yips) shouldn't be punished for his team's bullpen, and that local pride alone dictates a vote for Zim and another for Dunn. Fine, fine and fine. But still, you just can't have an all-star campaign for a team that's threatening to be the worst in the history of the game.
(Now, if someone wants to campaign for, say, a second Cap to make the NHL's all-star game next year, I'll keep my mouth shut.)
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